The game was tied in overtime Friday night at McLane Stadium, Fresno High faced first-and-goal from the Sunnyside 2-yard line, and there was no doubt that No. 2 would motor behind No. 76, right?
Surely, this time. As opposed to what happened near the end of regulation.
And, yes, No. 2, Nyric Hinton, aimed behind No. 76, 6-foot-1, 311-pound right guard Ofa Kuma and scored the touchdown that would hold up in an epic North Yosemite League duel – 40-34 over the Central Section’s 15th-ranked Sunnyside.
“He’s a real big dude,” Hinton said of Kuma. “He’s good.”
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
The Warriors had first possession in overtime. But instead of beginning on the Sunnyside 25 – CIF OT policy – they began on the 12 because of an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the Wildcats.
Hinton then rushed for 5 yards twice before scoring.
223 Rushing yards for Fresno’s Nyric Hinton on Friday against Sunnyside
Sunnyside, benefiting from a pass inteference penalty, followed with a first down on the Fresno 12.
Nacho Lopez rushed for 2 yards before junior quarterback Nate Hughes – on a night he passed for 296 yards – mishandled the snap for 6-yard loss and was sacked by Geno Maciel and Angel Magana for another loss of 9 before targeting Joshua Woods with a fourth-down pass in the right corner of the end zone. But it fell incomplete as defended well by Fresno cornerback Lee Major, who displayed his exceptional jumping ability honed as a Bee All-Star basketball player.
Remarkably, Hinton wasn’t breathing hard following a 34-carry, 223-yard performance against a Division II Sunnyside team that arrived 4-2, 1-0 in the NYL and delivered wins over D-I ranked opposition in No. 20 Clovis East (61-42) and No. 16 Stockdale (27-21) in nonleague play.
“I’m a little tired,” the 5-8, 174-pounder said, “but I’m good. That’s what all the training in the summer is for.”
Hinton was coming off a 20-carry, 247-yard effort in a 35-23 NYL-opening win over Hoover.
But with the Warriors (6-1, 2-0) trailing 34-31 and facing third-and-goal on the 2 in the final minute of regulation, he surprisingly didn’t get the ball.
Instead, Fresno called a play-action pass that had quarterback Khory Day fake a handoff to Hinton and throw a pass toward Andrew Contreras, but it was batted away by Wildcats linebacker Chris White.
My kids saved my skin.
Fresno coach Ray Reyes on his call on a play that failed at the end of regulation
Francisco Pantoja then kicked a 20-yard field to tie it 34-34 with 54.8 seconds remaining.
Warriors coach Ray Reyes plead guilty afterwards, saying the play-action call was the only one he made all night; delegating the rest to offensive coordinator Joe Marquez.
“I butted into the play and Joe was mad at me, so my kids saved my skin,” Reyes said. “Now Joe’s talking to me again.”
Sunnyside, down 14-0 in the first quarter, was kick-started by sophomore Deshawn Ruffin’s 93-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to open the second quarter.
The Wildcats then surged in front 27-17 in the third quarter behind Hughes, who completed 20 of 30 passes.